How Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Using The Arts To Help Puerto Rico Recover After Hurricane Maria

"We're gonna have their backs."

Almost a year after Hurricane Maria, Lin-Manuel Miranda has announced the creation of a new arts fund to help Puerto Rico recover. As the Associated Press points out, the storm caused an estimated $100 billion in damage, as cultural groups were already struggling amid an 11-year-old recession.

Miranda hopes the fund, managed by the Flamboyan Foundation, will grow to $15 million. The Tony winner is reprising his Hamilton role in Puerto Rico this upcoming January and announced that he will donate all proceeds from the three-week run.

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According to AP, the first five grant recipients include a local seven-member theater company called Y No Habia Luz, whose artistic co-director Julio Morales said the $180,000 "will allow us to start dreaming again." The Theater of the University of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Museum of Art will each receive $1 million, while $900,000 will go to a dance school and art education program.

"The goal wasn't just artistic satisfaction, but how can we leave Puerto Rico a little better than we found it," Miranda said.

Miranda's parents were born in Puerto Rico, and he has spoken about his time visiting his grandparents on the island growing up. Since the storm made landfall last September, he has contributed to hurricane relief in his own unique ways.

He released the song "Almost Like Praying," featuring artists such as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, with proceeds going to the Hispanic Federation. He also helped Stephen Colbert and Nick Kroll's #PuberMe Challenge reach $1 million by sharing a video of himself as a teenager.

"Amidst all these essential efforts, our arts and culture cannot be forgotten," Miranda wrote in a Twitter post announcing the new fund, naming talented Puerto Ricans such as Rita Moreno and Luis Fonsi. "Artists entertain, inspire, heal, give voice to the voiceless, call out injustice, and keep us in touch with our humanity. We're gonna have their backs."

Cover image: Terry Underwood Evans / Shutterstock.com

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